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Health Minister visits the NISTAR team

16th December 2020

Health Minister Robin Swann meets NISTAR

Health Minister Robin Swann paid a visit to the NISTAR (Northern Ireland Specialist Transport and Retrieval) team at Belfast Trust today.

NISTAR is the combined critical care transfer service for Northern Ireland. It incorporates the neonatal, paediatric and adult retrieval services.

It provides advanced resuscitation, stabilisation and inter-hospital transfer of critically ill infants, children and adults. Patients are managed by specialised clinical teams experienced in transport and retrieval. The service operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Approximately 1200 patients are transferred by NISTAR annually.

NISTAR also provides advice, support, education and training to hospitals on the safe transfer of critically ill patients.

NISTAR is hosted by the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust (BHSCT) in partnership with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS). BHSCT provide the medical and nursing staff, NIAS the dedicated critical care ambulances and crew.

Moira Kearney, Co-Director of Child Health Services and NISTAR at Belfast Health and Social Care Trust said:

“Belfast Trust is very proud of our successes working with NISTAR and the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service. We have four utterly dedicated teams providing a vital service for neonatal, paediatric and adult patients. We handle around 1200 calls a year, with 70 nurses and 40 doctors running a fleet of specially adapted ambulances.

In April, we completed our first ever simultaneous transfer of three Covid-19 patients and in October, NISTAR recorded their busiest ever day completing 18 transfers in total, eleven of which were for Covid positive patients being transferred from the Mater to the Nightingale hospital.”

Health Minister Robin Swann with the NISTAR Team